09 Mar Vermicompost
Vermicompost is the result of a web of chemical and physical biological changes between microorganisms, tiny creatures and worms.
Microorganisms are responsible for the biochemical degradation of organic matter in to a ‘rotted’ form conducive for worm consumption. When consumed the breakdown of organic waste through earthworm activity results in more nutrient rich compost and increased soil amendments.
Worm Castings (worm poo)
Composting worms or earthworms castings are not nutrient rich until they pass through the worms internal tract. This mechanical blending or coating of the casting changes the organic matter and modifies its biological, physical, and chemical status, enriching the spent casting with nutrient rich properties.
Additionally, high porous and water-holding capacity containing most nutrients within the enriched organic matter and high rates of mineralization reflect availability of nutrients readily available for plant root systems
The chemical nutrient content of vermicompost differs depending on the parent material from which they are processed. However, when their nutrient content is compared with that of a commercial plant growth medium, they contain most of the necessary mineral elements for plants.
Vermicompost originating from animal manure, food wastes, sewage sludges, or paper-mill sludges can contain high levels of humic substances
Benefits of Humic Acid
In soil, humic acids are important chelates, they combine minerals into organic compounds that are more available to plants.
Humic acid stimulates plant growth at low concentrations and has an indirect action on the metabolism of soil microorganisms. This unlocks stored soil nutrients signaling a biological uptake of viable nutrient to plants.
Using Vermicompost for plant growth
Earthworm composts (vermicomposts) can be produced from almost any kind of organic wastes with suitable preprocessing and controlled vermicomposting conditions. Vermicomposts grow plants extremely well, and they can be used as structural additives or amendments for poorer soils to provide nutrients and minimize soil erosion.
Studies reflect various increases in the germination; growth, flowering and fruiting of a wide range of crops and have a range of beneficial implications for organic farming.
Large scale farming application
Companies who process liquid and organic fertilizers incorporating beneficial soil microbes from worm castings such as Circular Food use Anaerobic Digestion and Food Waste Dehydrator systems. Small to large scale application of their BigBio organic pelletized fertilizer is produce and located in Melbourne
How to make Vermicompost
Step 1. Make some compost.
Compost can be made in many forms however an equal mix of Nitrogen such as fresh mown grass and Carbon such as brown mulch will work.
Add one of the following in equal parts:
1 part fresh mowed grass
1 Part tree mulch
1 small portion Spent coffee grounds or any farm animal manure
Mix well, place in a bottomless compost bin and wet thoroughly
Place a handful of black established compost on top of the first layer (one time only)
Repeat until a pile of approximately one metre high is achieved.
Use a pitch fork or compost aerator once a day for four days to oxygenate the micro biological activity working the pile.
Apply approximately 2 litres of water each day for the first week.
In approximately four to six weeks transfer the compost in to a ‘Flow Through’ worm farm, add some compost worms to achieve the desired outcome.
Information on obtaining vermicompost can found in http://www.wormz.com.au